Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill Founder Dead at 57, Suicide Suspected

by Jessica Lane

December 4, 2017

Photo By: David Handschuh/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Lowell Hawthorne, the founder and CEO of the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, has died at the age of 57. Hawthorne reportedly shot himself at his Bronx, N.Y. factory on Saturday.

If you’re from New York or even just visited New York (the Brooklyn, Bronx, Harlem parts though), you most certainly recognize Golden Krust and its sunshine logo. The restaurant, famous for its beef patties, now operates in nine states with more than 100 restaurants. Built from the ground up by Hawthorne and his family, it started with one fast-food restaurant in the Bronx and opened up several more before becoming the first Caribbean-owned business in the U.S. to receive a franchise license.

Hawthorne speaking on the one-year anniversary of his 2016 Undercover Boss episode.

According to the New York Post, Hawthorne killed himself to avoid a federal tax evasion investigation, reportedly millions of dollars of tax debt. A family member told investigators that Hawthrone admitted to the debt and was “acting funny” and “talking to himself” hours before his suicide.

Al Alston, one of Hawthorne’s longtime friends, called his suicide “more than unexpected — it’s out of character.”

“We’ve been in a lot of tough jams and situations, but he was always a person who’d say, ‘We’ll get out of it.’ And we would get out of it,” Alston said.

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